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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Leaving Moscow

This may be the most "cinematic" chapter in War and Peace: the Rostovs have finished packing their belongings, there's lots of chaos as they decided at the last moment what to take and what to leave, they have honorably given up many of their carts and carriages to serve as "caleches" for the wounded soldiers also being evacuated. Lots of fumbling about at the last minute, the old servants totally familiar with the behavior of the Rostovs, how they will inevitably want to to back to pick up forgotten items, how the Countess will want the driver to go more slowly, etc. At last their packed and off, and we see that what looked like one family's drama has been unfolding all across the city - hundreds, maybe thousands, of these caravans heading out of Moscow, while all around the streets are filled with Muscovites arming for a final battle on Three Hills. Most of the people on the streets are the poor of the city - but among them Natasha spies Pierre (easy to spot, he's huge) dressed apparently as a servant. He runs up the carriage, they almost seem to touch hands, and the carriage is gone. We learn that Pierre is in disguise and hoping to join the fight - he's en route to buy a pistol. So much happening in this chapter and beautifully conveyed with great economy. In the background, we know that among the wounded soldiers in the Rostov caravan is Prince Andrei, dying - Natasha does not know this yet. Her mother and Sonya keep the info from her as they know that it will send her into a spin, and they need her energy and good sense.

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